Green News

Veterans Day Remembrance

Veterans Day Remembrance
Veterans Day Remembrance

In high school my father convinced his mom to pay for private French lessons, what I imagine to be an unusual request of an only child to his widowed mother in Pittsburgh PA. After graduating college in1938 my father took these language skills to travel in Europe, an activity I imagine myself doing. Instead I traveled around the Caribbean and South America after high school. My mom gave me eighty dollars and a backpack for my graduation present. After attending four high schools in four years Mom knew I had no interest in heading to college from high school like both she and my father had.

It was WWII that brought my father back to the U.S. and then enabled his return to Europe.  As part of the mandatory draft, James M Eichelberger, Eich as my father was known by friends, enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private.  He recorded his occupation as a writer, editor and reporter, skills he would put to use deceiving our enemy. Eich became an expert in what was then called black and grey propaganda. Black propaganda was totally made up stories, what would be called “fake” news today, whereas grey propaganda had elements of truth to it. 

I know very little about his service to war besides the few references he made in the letters he wrote me between 1982 and 1989. I have these twelve typed letters in plastic sleeves ordered by date in a three ring binder now. Upon the occasion of reflecting on what Veterans Day means to me I have opened the notebook to the following that he typed to me on December 15th,1987.

I know my mother kept all my letters from World War II and they could be a gold mine. My mother copied them and sent some around to friends, here, there and elsewhere. Art John found about ten of them in an old trunk of his and I am impressed with my powers of observation and expression then. Alice has them and there must be a couple hundred pages of what is now history.” 

Art John was a friend of my father’s who was to have the autobiography my father had been promising me a copy of for years. Alice is my mother and the wife he unexpectedly abandoned when I was six years old. My dad’s mom, my grandmother, died suddenly, just a few months before my parents married but Eich makes little mention of what happened to all the letters he had written to her during the war except to say my mom had them. None of the war time correspondence from my father surfaced after either of my parents’ deaths.

Veterans Day is another jab to my heart. Eich certainly understood the importance of the history he was a part of. But I ignored the opportunity to ask him directly about the stories haunting his head and those he had committed to the page. Earlier in the same letter his wrote;

I do not make carbons because this new machine isn’t good at it; but I sometimes have things Xeroxed in a shop around the corner. I am writing on a Canon S-58 and am thinking of getting a Canon photo copier. Both are Japanese electronic wiz gadgets and I think I need them. I should make copies of what I write.

Yes, I think now, you should have made copies and left them in manila envelopes with my name on them. A few months later, on February 20 1988 in another letter to me my father wrote:

I have been working pretty hard, particularly on the autobio, which is in the form of a journal: daily entries of current interest and a daily raid of my recollection of people, places and events. It’s astounding what the mind can dredge up; I am almost at page 300 and I am far from finishing WWII. I was only a little fish of a captain but I swam just under the waves made by the big names of the epoch. I was in England, North Africa, France and Germany and saw everything but the surrender. Where was I then? Probably in bed with the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I drank vodka with Russians. Does anybody in your generation ever think of the retreat from Dunkirk and what it meant? It’s right for flower children to deplore war but it’s not so bad if you’re lucky. 

I do deplore war. In fact I was arrested on the Capitol steps in Washington, DC protesting the Vietnam War as part of the 1971 May Day demonstrations. But I am glad that my dad feels he was lucky.

Besides the letters through which Eich referenced his war time, as well as stories that his friend and partner Miles Copeland immortalized in his own autobiography The Game Player confessions of the CIA’s original political operative (published in January 1989 just 10 months before Eich’s death), I have two documents related to my dad’s military service. The Registrar’s Report is a WWII relic I found on It describes his physical characteristics, such as his six foot height, brown hair and blue eyes, but says nothing of his wicked intelligence or wry sense of humor.

Registrar Report
Registrar Report

The other document is a three page dispatch from  the War Department’s Strategic Services Unit dated February 13, 1946 and transmitted in code or cipher. My father was to receive a French Reconnaissance Medal and Decrete #5 but his name was initially spelled incorrectly. I have no idea what he did to receive such distinction nor if he ever actually received the medal.  Also called the Medal of French Gratitude, the honor was first awarded in WWI by the French government to citizens who had risked their lives to support the war effort. 

As part of the Office of Strategic Services, the storied OSS, I like to  imagine my father supporting the Resistance in occupied France by posing as a French man cooperating with the Germans. I am certain he spoke German as well as French. Although both of my father’s parents were born in PA, they were of German ancestry. Moreover, after the war when my dad was pursuing a Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Chicago, his academic records indicate he passed his French and German examinations at a high level.    

Eich would have been planted behind enemy lines in Paris, a place he loved, a place he was comfortable in; if one can ever be comfortable in a war. Perhaps my father had a hand in  leading  propaganda efforts in Paris. I keep front and center that he got his start in the dark arts of deceit with black and grey propaganda.

In one of his books Miles Copeland mentions a French poetess my father took up with at the end of the war. Who is not to say they fell in love while developing newspaper articles and radio broadcasts to lead our enemies astray. Maybe he helped save the lives of her family in the waning days of war and for this he was to receive the French Reconnaissance Medal. When Eich left my mother in Beirut when I was six and my brother was only six months old, he went off to Paris to resume a romantic relationship with a French poetess he had met during the last day of the war.” ( Copeland, The Game Player, pg 218.)   

Aside from the letter quotes I have already shared, there is one more letter dated October 17, 1988, less than a year before he died, in which my father references his own war time service and more broadly his work for the CIA. 

My old, old friend Art John from Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago and Harvard has been keeping a Xerox of my MS. It’s always prudent to keep any material of historical interest in duplicate but in this case I didn’t think it was worth a bank vault. If you care to store a lot of hot stuff— when they’re older the kids might like to read about their grandfather’s odd and extensive participation in the 20th century– you are the one who should have it. Art is an historian and he thinks I should offer some of it for publication, particularly the section on the second world war. I haven’t got to the CIA and the Middle East yet and Art and I are of two minds about publishing this kind of revelation. Eisenhower would be involved as would U.S. relations with Great Britain, France, Egypt, Iran and a lot of other  places. I’ll think about it. I do have a long way to go and am up to 500 pages now. 

I did not receive the manuscript my father had been working on the last years of his life. Nor did I try to track down Art John when there might have been an opportunity to find him. My dad died before the internet was born. Moreover, while my dad was aging in Washington DC, I lived over a thousand miles away in Key West, Florida with my husband and soon to be three children. Our last child,Taylor, was born exactly nine months after my Dad’s death. 

It is terrible to regret missed opportunities but I do nonetheless.

I am also a believer in miracles. Perhaps in someone’s attic sits my father’s manuscript and it will find its way home to me. Perhaps someone reading this post will have more internet sleuthing prowess than me and will reach out to help. 

Meanwhile this Veteran’s Day, although my father has lost his voice, I am gaining mine. 

Here’s to the veterans of war, whether the fight be in our heads or out in the world. We all deserve to recognize the struggle from which compassion is born.

~ Anne E Tazewell

The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.

Goldie Hawn

How to Buy a Green Used Vehicle

My husband Richard needed a new car. He loved his Toyota Insight, a gas sipping hybrid electric vehicle that he had put 185,000 miles on over 5 years, mainly driving back and forth to our one room cabin in Southwest Virginia. Given the rugged driveway up to our mountain getaway, he wanted a car with more heft. Furthermore, we wanted a vehicle with more space since he and I are planning a road trip to promote the September 1st release of my memoir, A Good Spy Leaves No Trace: Big Oil, CIA Secrets and A Spy Daughter’s Reckoning.

The book ties my career in clean energy to an investigation of my father’ life, a man I didn’t really know. Turns out my dad was on the ground floor getting the U.S. hooked on cheap middle east oil and I have been working for the past twenty plus years on just the opposite. My career has been focused on promoting the alternatives to guzzling fossil fuel in our cars and trucks – biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, propane, electricity and, of course, fuel efficiency.

Thus, it is important to me that the vehicle we use to tour around promoting my book NOT be a conventional gasoline vehicle. I want to practice what I preach and thankfully my husband is game to go along with me.

It niggles at my consciousness that the cars and trucks we drive are the number one source of climate changing greenhouse gases. According to the EPA, transportation is responsible for a whopping 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, the carbon dioxide that is flooding our atmosphere and threatening our future.[1]

2021 Greenhouse Emission by Sector
2021 Greenhouse Emission by Sector

For the kind of traveling we are looking to do it is challenging to find the perfect vehicle. My first choice would be an all-electric vehicle. EVs are fun to drive! They are powerful with lots of torque and much more efficient to operate than a car with an internal combustion engine. Plus, they have zero tail pipe emissions. In addition, as the electric grid is increasingly powered by renewable sources such and wind and solar, an electric ride will just get cleaner.

At this point in time though, electric vehicles are just not roomy enough to accommodate all the stuff we will want to travel with: camping gear, music equipment and the books I intend to sell. In a couple years this will change with the introduction of several pickup trucks coming on the market. The iconic Ford F 150 will be all electric in 2013, joining Tesla’s Cybertruck and startups such as Lordstown Motors and Rivian, some of whom plan to have vehicles rolling off the assembly line later this year.[1]  

I know how much fun it is to drive an EV because I currently own a Chevrolet Volt. I purchased it new in 2012 to share with my son Rio who lived in Boone at the time, but that is a whole other story. The Volt, for those who may not know, is unique in the car world because has a fully electric drive vehicle that can go up to 50 miles on electricity than seamlessly switch to gasoline for another couple hundred miles. It is a great commuter car for going back and forth from Carrboro to NC State University, where I work, but it’s not practical for long road trips since its fuel economy is only 34 MPG on gasoline.

Richard & our new used 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Richard & our new used 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

I did a comparison of Richard’s and my two existing vehicles, the Chevy Volt and Honda Insight with the car we had suddenly fallen in love with and ended up purchasing a couple weeks ago. It is a 2019 AWD RAV-4 XSE Hybrid. Yes, it still runs on gasoline but for its heft and inside spaciousness it still gives us 40 MPG. It handles the driveway up to our cabin no problem and thanks to a remodel of the interior in 2019, offers more space for our gear than older RAV4.

There are some excellent on line resources that can help conscious car buyers that want to go green and potentially save green (as in dollars)

The following is the comparison of our vehicles from the U.S. EPA Green Vehicle Guide.

Vehicle Guide
Vehicle Guide

The U.S. Dept. of Energy also has its own very useful on line tool for comparing new and used vehicles I was happy to see that the RAV4 Hybrid we purchased rates a 9 out of a possible 10 points for its greenhouse gas emissions of 205-237 grams of CO2 per mile. To put this in perspective the most polluting vehicles emit almost 4 times the GHG per mile.

Energy Impact Score
Energy Impact Score

By buying green you will also in be saving green. Althought he RAV 4 Hybrid comes with a $2,400 price premium as compared to the regular RAV 4, the EPA Green Vehicle Guide says that I expect to save $2,500 over 5 years driving an annual 15,000 miles as compared to the average vehicle on the road today that gets 27 MPG.  Check it out at![1]

The RAV4 Hybrid carries a $2,400 price premium over a regular RAV4 of a comparable trim level. But keep in mind that hybrid models come standard with AWD while regular models come standard with FWD. If you compare a hybrid model to a gas-only AWD model of a comparable trim level, the hybrid is only $1,000 more expensive[2]

Go Green and Save Green with your next vehicle!





Pedal Power & Pedestrians

The future is happening now is Heidelberg, Germany and other cities around the world where urban planners are putting human health and our planet’s future front and center of how we live and work. In 2018 U.S. transportation related emissions were the single greatest source of climate warming emissions. This is changing with strategic planning to build pedestrian centric communities like Heidelberg’s Bahnstadt, or Rail City where over 5,000 residents live in high rises that are “so well insulated that they require almost no energy to heat” according to the New York Times Jack Ewing Residents can walk or ride a bicycle to schools, grocery stores, and their offices. There are also six car sharing station, each with two electric vehicles. If residents or visitors need to go to the city center – where electric buses ply the streets- than they can take a train.

Bahnstadt housing is arranged around courtyards with playgrounds and connected by walkways.
Bahnstadt housing is arranged around courtyards with playgrounds and connected by walkways.Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times

I can’t wait to visit someday!